Monday, February 24, 2014

Uneven Pavement

Two things have hit uneven pavement this week. Number one being me as I crashed my bike and number two being our neighbors who used to have baptismal dates, but then their preacher told them not to listen to us and to come to Baptist church and they did and the Holy Spirit was profusely poured out and now they want to be "just friends".
The South. Gotta love the south. It's okay. Whateva makes ya happy. So last night was kind of hard with our morale banged up like my face. But there are a ton of people in this town we've never met and we are going to get like half of them in the water like today. Yep. Alma and Amulek had Bible Bashers too, and they turned out okay! They were pretty bold though so we might have to try a little "Repent ye! Repent ye! Or thou shalt not be saved in the kingdom of heaven". That would be fun. We'd be so popular haha.
We got two new solid part member families to work with this week. The best one is the Suddeths, a sweet young family with a less active dad, but a mom that really wants to get to know the church better. We haven't met the dad yet actually--he works all the time doing videography for the air force. Sounds cool. Mom and Dad both want their newborn girl blessed in the church. So they have to come at least once right?! Mom is totally gonna get baptized. She even taught her two year old to say "God helps" in response to "Who helps you?" Oh, the bible belt strikes again, but this time in a much cuter form.
So to keep with the theme of the post--we are going to smooth this area over! :D
Found this fitting Book of Mormon verse.
1 Nephi 17:46
And ye also know that by the power of his almighty word he can cause the earth that it shall pass away; yea, and ye know that by his word he can cause the rough places to be made smooth, and smooth places shall be broken up. O, then, why is it, that ye can be so hard in your hearts?
Love y'all!
-Sister Laura Cooper

Monday, February 17, 2014

In the Movies

Y'all know that mission movie where two missionaries whitewash a struggling area and other missionaries tell them it's dead or been tracted out, and for a whole transfer it seems totally true but then they decide to be braver and then they meet an awesome family and teach them the Restoration and they agree to be baptized all within seven days?
It's a sweet movie called "Every Missionary Movie Ever" and this week it premiered in Niceville this week.
They are called the Greens, and this week we taught them five lessons, committed them to be baptized, and got them started on all the basic commitments. In a slight break from the movie plot, they couldn't make it to church this week due to work, but next week they are planning on it. They had dinner with a couple families from the ward last night, and as the crowning jewel, the Dad said "and this is something I learned as we are being Mormon". Hahaha! When they call themselves Mormon for the first time is one of my favorite moments.
So basically they are super prepared, and we have to help them go to church and quit smoking. Those are the two biggest roadblocks in the mission, so I guess it's not perfect perfect, but it would be kind of freaky if it was so yeah! They want to do both of those things though, and that I think will make a big difference.
This week we also refound the guy who came to church and then disappeared. He made some bad decisions on a trip to south florida and now has a broken wrist and no job. But we will try to help him as we can. People seriously need the gospel for sure.
As requested by my dear parents, I will share a scripture with y'all as a tradition every week. This is something that I read in the Book of Mormon this morning. Amulek is crying repentance to the Lamanites and they ask a little about his authority and how he knows what he knows. He says,

"And behold, I am also a man of no small reputation among all those who know me; yea, and behold, I have many kindreds and friends, and I have also acquired much riches by the hand of my industry.
 Nevertheless, after all this, I never have known much of the ways of the Lord, and his mysteries and marvelous power. I said I never had known much of these things; but behold, I mistake, for I have seen much of his mysteries and his marvelous power; yea, even in the preservation of the lives of this people."
Basically, I thought of myself saying "Well, I'm good at my past life job. I go to school and I do pretty good at science I guess. I don't know much about the deep doctrines of the Lord, but at the same time I do, because I have seen His power work in the lives of so many"
And that is true! And so much better than knowing everything.
Love y'all!
-Sister Laura Cooper

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Why wait?

One of the most challenging things about missionary work is the balance between bold and loving. Missionaries who are too bold come off as pushy or self-interested, and missionaries who are just love love love have a hard time getting anyone to do anything except hang out or have lunch or whatever. The senior couple in DeFuniak has it down. Elder Habel is all bold and Sister Habel is all loving and together you look and them and wonder how their marriage has worked out for 50 years, but you don't wonder why they are successful missionaries. Everyone they teach feels loved, as well as compelled to do things.
Sometimes us younger missionaries go through the boldness cycle, similar to the pride cycle in the book of mormon. We are scared so we are all love, then grow into boldness, then somebody gets mad and we go back to love. Haha, anyway that's what me and sister milne have been working on this week. We decided to be all love, church, and baptism. Bold and loving. I'm exhausted, but we set a baptismal date! Nobody we committed came to church, but the kingdom of god wasn't built over night, yeah? Probably could be, but instead God chooses to let us serve Him and build it slowly. How sweet. :D
I am super stuffy from all the weather swings between ice and frozen trees to short sleeve weather, plus all of the sick and stuffy missionaries I come in contact with. This morning my companion may or may not have tried clearing my sinuses by Breath Essential Oil  on my face and instead accidentally poured it in my eye. I shouldn't say "instead". My stuffy nose became a thing of little concern to me when I was washing the lemon juice-peppermint oil out of my eye.
I've got a book of mormon scripture for y'all. It's from Moroni 7

If a man be meek and lowly in heart, and confesses by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, he must needs have charity; for if he have not charity he is nothing; wherefore he must needs have charity. And charity suffereth long.
Basically, he or she who knows Christ and is a Christian should be willing to suffer long and be patient. That is charity, just like charity is love and kindness. Whoa.

This is why Charity is going to be my first child's name.
Love y'all
Sister Laura Cooper

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Missionary Work 9 Days a Week

Welcome back, my people! P Day for us is today (wednesday) this week because of a sweet family history event we did on Monday. I had this funny experience at the event. We were working inside the Valparaiaso Library and couldn't exactly reach out and holler at people to come talk to us, but we could walk around quietly and invite people to our family history booth. So this guy comes in and sits down with a book. I wanted to talk to him so I kind of sneaked up and didn't know what to say, but suddenly he was like "Are you selling something?" and I was like "No we are giving people free family history help" and he just sat there pondering for a few seconds and then was like "Let's do it!!" and then me and sister milne took him through FamilySearch for like half an hour and he said he would come to our class and learn more haha.
So that's the contacting story for this week. Look awkward and people want to talk about the gospel. Y'all may have also heard that this mission froze over this week. That is true. A little ice and the whole south shut down. No one left their houses, literally every kind of work except for emergency services was closed for the day (the air force base, the schools, the stores, the restaurants--all closed) We went out and worked, but only for half of the day, when the President gave us permission.
Yesterday I had a cool spiritual experience actually! Some thing was given to me in the very moment to be meted unto every man, as they say. When we were teaching someone who didn't really understand why our message matters, or why we were there, it came to me to ask her what it would mean to her if the church Christ established was back on Earth and she ignored the question and went off on some tangent about teaching kids to tell the truth, and then Sister Milne asked the same question again and she actually thought about it and she is going to read the Book of Mormon to check it out! Sweetness. Thanks Spirit. You're a boss.
I love you sweet followers. Be awesome.
<3 Sister Laura Cooper

Sunday, February 2, 2014


This week in district meeting we started a new program that came from "an apostle or something" (where new things always come from haha)
It's called the experiment. We teach less-active members all of the lessons "for practice" and ask them to do the same commitments "for practice" and suddenly they are reading their scriptures and coming to church and things--awesome. This is new this week, but it's already helped some people in our area read their scriptures. :D
There are more cool missionary experiments happening in this area. There's church tours, family history booths, working on Northwest Florida State College (I've always wanted to be a campus sister!!) I'm excited about it. We are supposed to be an iPad mission too, but so far no.
I read something awesome this morning in Mosiah 14 an 15. Jesus-packed Book of Mormon chapters, yes please. :) Isaiah is not so bad after all, thanks to Abinadi.
Got to watch my mission president on TV this week and that is pretty sweet. I guess him and his wife once got lost on a boat in the Marshall Islands and when she started singing ''Master the tempest is raging" he started singing Gilligan's Island.
Missions are cool haha.
Love y'all! Peace.
-sister laura cooper

Transfer 5 Will Be Another Nice One

You know what that means! I'm staying in Niceville until March at least. So is Sister Milne. We are getting an Elder in this area named Elder Smellie! Yes, pronounced just like "smelly". I think. Maybe I'm just making that up, but everyone knows him calls him Elder Smelly.

So I am super excited for that new thing happening here. Haha just for the name. 

In President Smith's email this week he talked about our 2014 mission theme, to become a missionary of uncommon valor. I feel like it's an awesome mission theme because the mission is the perfect place to face fear and gain valor. When we walk up to someone on the street, we never know if they are going to be like "false prophets! go to hell! i don't care!" or "yeah, I actually want to join a church soon, but haven't looked around much yet!" and sometimes I just don't know what to say to anyone, but through the daily power of the Atonement, fear can be slowly replaced with faith. Slowly haha, but definitely possible.

Working after dark can't take us, and neither can opening our mouths.

Happy Transfers to my mission people, and mostly just have a sweet week everyone! I love y'all!

-Sister Cooper